Free Bird Fitness puts the free back into fitness

Chrissy Locrotondo leads a Free Bird Fitness class. (Credit: Carrie Miller)
Chrissy Locrotondo leads a Free Bird Fitness class. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Looking for a workout that will deliver results but won’t break the bank?

Chrissy Locrotondo of Southold, a certified group fitness instructor, has used her experience and optimistic attitude to establish Free Bird Fitness, a nonprofit that provides exercise classes to the community free of charge by pairing up with area businesses that allow her to host classes at their locations for free. 

“My generation, they don’t have $15 or $20 to throw down two or three times a week for a [fitness] class,” she said. “The money, it isn’t there.”

Launched this month, Ms. Locrotondo, 30, reached out to former employers and wellness organizations across the East End and found four locations that were willing to open their doors to her idea.

Currently awaiting federal approval as a not-for-profit, she is applying for grant funding opportunities in hopes of securing enough money to make her fitness program sustainable. For now, she and her husband, Danny, have covered start-up costs out-of-pocket, which so far amount to about $1,000 to incorporate her organization, trademark its logo and create business cards and fliers to get the word out about classes.

Eventually, she hopes the organization will provide her with a small salary so that it can remain her core focus.

“I am going to see where this takes me,” she said. “These people are coming and they are so grateful. For them, fitness, it is fun again. They can gather their friends and work out and not have to look at it as a financial investment.”

NOFO Wellness Center of Cutchogue was the first place to host Ms. Locrotondo’s classes.

“I believe in health, and our focus is to help people be healthy and give them different ways of doing it,” said NOFO Wellness Center owner Andrea Esposito. “I just thought it was a great idea. I think through her program, we’ll all be able to help each other.”

Back-to-back sessions of hip-hop cardio and spin had a nice turnout last Wednesday at NOFO Wellness Center, with Ms. Locrotondo leading the pack wearing a bright blue shirt that matched the streaks in her hair.

“We have the space and I believe in what she wants to do,” said Ryan Carr of Pine Tree Day Nursery, where Ms. Locrotondo will teach hip-hop cardio classes Tuesday evenings.

“It is awesome for the community, to open up an option for people that don’t necessarily have the finances to do it,” Mr. Carr said. “She wants to make people feel good about themselves and that’s such a positive thing.”

Ms. Locrotondo, who has a dance background, said she has more than 200 fun, upbeat dance-inspired workout routines in her repertoire.
“Dance fitness is huge right now,” she said. “You don’t feel like you are working out.”


Pine Tree Day Nursery in Riverhead
Hip-hop cardio at 6:15

NOFO Wellness in Cutchogue
Hip-hop cardio at 6 p.m.
Spin at 7 p.m.

Southampton Hospital Wellness Center in Hampton Bays
Hip-hop cardio at 6:15 p.m.

Inspire Dance Centre of Southold
Hip-hop cardio at 5 p.m.
For more information, visit the Free Bird Fitness Facebook page.

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